When two or more characteristics overlap, this can sometimes worsen the discrimination or exclusion that someone faces.
One example we see from Sightsavers’ work is that in some countries, being a girl or having a disability would make a child less likely to go to school. However, girls with a disability have a double disadvantage: this group of children are even less likely to get an education.
Intersectionality is important for Sightsavers because we need to understand who our services aren’t reaching, and why. This is where my work as a researcher comes in. I work closely with colleagues who run programmes and our partners to do research to understand who is excluded, and why. We can then look at what needs to be done to include them.
This month, the Inclusive Data Charter (IDC) is launching a range of tools and case studies to support governments, agencies and NGOs to collect and use better data on intersectionality. These materials were developed building on the momentum gathered following an online event in February 2021 where several organisations, including Sightsavers, shared their experiences of collecting, analysing and using intersectional data to improve their work.
As a researcher at Sightsavers, focusing mainly on studies around health and inclusion of people with disabilities, I was really pleased to be able to speak at the event, and help develop a case study based on my experiences collecting and analysing intersectional data.
Emma Jolley is the global technical lead for health and disability research at Sightsavers.